The Mitsubishi i MiEV is a smart little electric car. Currently the cheapest offered on the market, its based price is slightly under $30,000, which goes down to 21,650 after federal incentives and less. Some states and localities even offer further rebates. In certain parts of inland California, the i MiEV can be had for as low as $17,000. While this price is alluring, what most people really don’t know is its history, or how it’s made.
Smart Car. Have you ever wondered what i MiEV stands for? Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle, it’s the all electric version of the gasoline powered Mitsubishi i. It started its life as the bigger version of the Smart Car, the Smart Forfour. The Smart Forfour was initially produced between 2004 and 2006 in Europe as a joint collaboration between Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler. The Smart Fortwo originally manufactured by Smart GmbH and introduced at the 1998 Paris Motor Show, was the late 1980s brainchild of Nicolas Hayek, CEO of SMH, makers of the famous Swatch watches. Hayek approached Volkswagen, VW, which led to the development of the original Smart but was eventually turned down. VW had started working on its own economy car, the Lupo 3L. The same happened with BMW, Fiat, General Motors and Renault and finally Daimler-Benz AG agreed to work with him. Thus was born the original Smart Car.
The rest is pretty straight forward, in the early 2000 Mitsubishi and Daimler had a joint partnership and worked on the Smart Forfour. After the Daimler/Mitsubishi fall out, the original Smart stayed with Daimler and Mitsubishi inherited the Smart Forfour.
Discovery Lifts The Mystery. The Canadian: "Birth of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car" special presentation will air on August 4 and will be followed by a US broadcast soon after. By now, your first reaction would be, why Canada? It seems Mitsubishi has discovered Canadians have a very poor understanding of what an electric car, EV is. In fact, the press release even goes as far as to say: “Thousands of Canadians across Canada have a fear of electric cars. But the Electriphobia Research Institute is here to help. Watch our highly scientific therapies below, then head to electriphobia.com to cure your Electriphobia permanently. And for good.” To be fair, Canada has done a lot of work and research on electric cars and I know many enthusiasts and companies working on their introduction.
While it’s not very clear what this fear of electric cars is about with our northern neighbors, nonetheless Discovery’s airing of "Birth of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car" should prove to be informative. In the meantime, if you haven’t driven an i MiEV, I highly recommend you do. Find out what this little electric urban queen can do and see it as what it is, the perfect around town electric Mitsubishi i MiEV.